(KFOR NEWS  August 1, 2019)  Nebraska falls short when it comes to implementing legislation to prevent and reduce suffering and death from cancer according to the latest edition of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality, released today.  

“This report shows that we must do more to reduce suffering and death from cancer. We have the power to make a difference for Nebraskan’simmediately by implementing proven cancer-fighting policies,” said Nick Faustman, Nebraska government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “This year alone in Nebraska, 9,780 people will be diagnosed with cancer and 27.1% of cancer deaths in Nebraska are attributed to smoking. We owe it to them and everyone at risk of developing the disease, to do what we know works to prevent cancer and improve access to screenings and treatment.”

How Do You Measure Up? rates states in eight specific areas of public policy that can help fight cancer: increased access to care through Medicaid, access to palliative care, balanced pain control policies, cigarette tax levels, smoke-free laws, funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, cessation coverage under Medicaid and restricting indoor tanning devices for people under 18.

This year’s report includes a special section examining efforts to stem youth tobacco product use by raising the legal age of sale for tobacco to 21. E-cigarettes have driven a dramatic 36% rise in youth tobacco product use over the last year—and in statehouses across the country, policymakers have prioritized efforts to keep tobacco products out of the hands of our kids. The special section draws attention to Big Tobacco’s dangerous agenda—including preempting local governments’ ability to pass strong tobacco control laws—and outlines the principles that make tobacco 21 policies effective.

A color-coded system classifies how well a state is doing in each issue. Green shows that a state has adopted evidence-based policies and best practices; yellow indicates moderate movement toward the benchmark and red shows where states are falling short.

ACS CAN looks forward to working with lawmakers to reduce the cancer burden in our state by increasing the states cigarette tax by at least a $1 per pack and by restricting indoor tanning use.

“As advocates, we have the opportunity to work with our Nebraska legislators on implementing policies and programs that prevent and treat cancer,” said Ann Yager, state lead ambassador, ACS CAN. “Together, we can build stronger, healthier communities and ensure Nebraskans have access to measures that prevent disease before it occurs, ultimately saving more lives from cancer.”

To view the complete report and details on Nebraska’s grades, visit www.fightcancer.org/measure.

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